A tragic shooting occurred in Paris when a gunman opened fire at a Kurdish community center Friday, killing three people and injuring four. Now Paris investigators are trying to figure out why.
CNN reports that the alleged gunman, a 69-year-old man, has been apprehended alive, but the Paris prosecutor, Laure Beccuau, says the gunman’s motive is “unclear.” An investigation has been launched to determine if this situation can be designated a terrorist or racially motivated act.
“When it comes to racist motivations, of course these elements are part of the investigation that was just launched,” Beccuau said. All three of the people murdered were Kurds.
This attack comes months after an article in the New York Times highlighted that, like in many parts of Europe, France has a rising far-right movement. During the last election, which ultimately came out in liberal Emmanuel Macron’s favor, there were those like Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right movement in France, who came forward and won a lot of support with their pro-Catholic, nationalistic ideals.
“During last fall’s primaries, nearly 40 percent of French voters expressed a preference for a candidate promoting far-right ideas,” wrote reporter Elisabeth Zerofsky. “CNews invited Renaud Camus, the source of the ‘grand remplacement,’ or ‘great replacement,’ conspiracy theory (which has been picked up across the Atlantic by commentators like Tucker Carlson), onto its Sunday evening show. Camus’s argument holds that the white French population is being replaced by a nonwhite, non-French population.”
When looking at the rhetoric they peddled, losing that election didn’t stop the simmering resentment they platformed and normalized from boiling over. As Samy Adghirni bleakly reported during the French election:
“Only once has France had a far-right government — in the dark days of Nazi occupation during World War II. That lingering association with a period of national calamity confined extreme conservative groups to the margins of politics for the rest of the 20th century. Now they’re making a comeback, exploiting economic insecurity to peddle a narrative of a proud nation in decline, besieged by alien cultures.”
The Kurdish population in France is the second largest in Europe, behind Germany.
France is still majority white and Catholic (with the second largest religion being no religion, followed by Islam), with Paris, its biggest city, being an outlier.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo—the first woman to hold the office and a member of the Socialist Party—has already called the tragic events committed by a “far-right activist,” according to the BBC.
“Kurds wherever they reside must be able to live in peace and security,” Hildalgo said. “More than ever, Paris is by their side in these dark times.”
I am relieved that this was ended quickly before more deaths could occur, but it only highlights that the far-right isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
(via CNN, image: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)
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